LOS ANGELES (VINnews) — Tommy Macias, a 51-year-old resident of Lake Elsinore, California, had been very careful over the past few months. Macias, a truck driver, knew that due to his diabetes he was at high risk if he contracted COVID-19, so he stayed at home and wore a mask when going out, maintaining social distance from others. However Macias made just one error that cost him his life. He went to a barbecue party with some friends. He didn’t know that someone who had tested positive for COVID-19, but showed no symptoms, was also present at the party.
“It was all preventable,” said Gustavo Lopez, Macias’ 52-year-old brother-in-law. “That person knew he had corona and still went. He should have known better, and that one mistake cost [Macias] his life.”
More than 10 others who attended that gathering have tested positive for the coronavirus, Lopez said.
Macias fell ill on June 15, but assumed it was caused by his diabetes. He then tested positive for COVID-19. Lopez said that already then he feared the worst.
“Everyone knew it wasn’t going to end well,” he said. “There was a high probability he wasn’t going to make it.”
A day before his death on June 21, Macias posted a warning on Facebook, urging people to wear a mask and practice social distancing. His final message was one of regret.
Macias’s condition, which had originally improved deteriorated fast the next day. He called his mother and his three sisters to say that he could not breathe. “I could hear it in his voice, he was terrified,” Macias Norris (53) said afterwards. Norris rushed to her brother’s home, just five minutes from her own, but was too late. The ambulance attendants had put him inside and shut the doors. She tried to follow him to hospital but was told she could not even sit by his bedside. Norris told the LA Times that “I spoke with him over the phone that day. He was heavily breathing and crying, but his last words to me were ‘I want to go home, Sis. I want to go home, Sis.’”
Macias was put on a ventilator but died in the evening of June 21, leaving his final Facebook post as a poignant epitaph.